Mixed Feelings

See how a smorgasboard of textures, colours, materials, and styles are able to sit well together in this loft-like condominium unit.

This home offers cues on how to put together a mash-up of styles without it descending into design chaos.

Fact File:

Who Lives Here A consultant, his wife and their three-year-old son.

Home A four-bedroom condominium unit along Anderson Road

Size 1,830sqf

After living in a typical cookie-cutter home for five years, Andrew and his wife decided that their new home was going to be completely different. "No more household shelters, low ceilings or balconies," laughs the 35-year-old consultant.

The pair were determined to pick a home close to a good school for their son and were lucky to have found the four-bedroom condominium unit. "When we first walked into the space, we could already see how we were going to renovate it. The fact that it was fairly rectilinear also meant that we did not have to deal with any awkward corners," says Andrew. He had pictured a loft-style interior for his home, a space in which they could mix different decor themes - with plenty of storage space.

Having seen the work of Museum interior designer Alex Kwan in a friend's home, Andrew took a look at the designer's portfolio online. "In his work, we saw incarnations of what we wanted. It made sense for us to go with him," explains Andrew. After meeting, he handed Alex a floor plan in which all the internal walls except the load-bearing ones, were removed. "I told Alex to have fun and tell us what he could do," says Andrew. "As you can see, he had some great ideas."

Wide Open Spaces

Alex left the living, dining and kitchen areas as one open-concept space, giving visitors the impression of a loft-like interior. This was accentuated by removing most of the false ceiling in the living area - leaving a border to conceal the air-conditioning unit, projection screen and electrical wiring - and painting part of the border black, which adds depth to the ceiling.

A large cabinet was built in front of the private lift lobby, giving the family plenty of storage space for shoes, and hiding the guest bedroom and common bathroom from the entrance of the home. To keep the lift foyer separate, a translucent panel of wire-mesh glass helps to partition off the area. The panel was something Andrew had seen in a cafe - "I didn't want a clear glass panel, but I wanted something unique that could allow light in." The sliding panel can be tucked away to help open up the space, and it is also used in the door to his son's bedroom, as it allows the couple to keep a watchful eye on their son, yet not block the passage of light into the living room.

The master bedroom was also made larger by extending its entrance into the hallway of the home. Doing this enclosed the common bathroom in the footprint of the master bedroom, and provided extra space for the wardrobe. Alex then turned the former en suite bathroom into a private study area for Andrew to make conference calls.

Mix of styles

Having an open-plan space with a simple black and wood palette gave Andrew the freedom to play around with colours and different looks throughout the home. "There was no style direction," explains Alex. "It was just a mix of their favourite things."

The dry kitchen is zoned off from the living and dining room by a retro-style black and white chequered floor. At its centre sits a marble kitchen island with a weathered wood countertop, accented by industrial-style stools and vintage-look hanging lamps.

On the left of the kitchen island is a green, reclaimed wood cabinet from a shop at Gillman Barracks that stores cookbooks and other tomes. On the right, a bright-red ashwood sliding barn-like door conceals the wet kitchen, which sports Peranakan-style flooring. A pair of doors in the same shade of red lead the way into the powder room.

The industrial look is paired with vintage style in the living room; a wall in the dining area that is covered in concrete screed contrasts against a storage cabinet that hides the telephone, DVDs and other audiovisual equipment. Mounted on the same wall is an industrial-style lamp from Museum, which can be swung out of the way. A vintage teak sofa bench they had upholstered with black faux leather anchors the space next to the dining area.

The renovation cost $250,000 and took four months, but Andrew couldn't be happier. He had the freedom to mix and match different decor styles, without it descending into a design disaster.

Where to go

Museum, tel: 8121-0546


 Get a copy of the June 2014 issue of Home & Decor and read about the latest local and international trends in home design. Home & Décor, published by SPH Magazines, is available at all newsstands now.

Check out more stories at Home & Decor online, www.homeanddecor.com.sg.

Also, check out the June 2014 issue for these stories:

a) 10 Common Storage Problems

Solutions to your pressing storage woes, and how you can design as much storage as possible in the least amount of space.

b) Savoir Fair

We bring you the highlights of the Milan furniture fair, where gold dazzled, colours impressed and shapes were friendly and familiar.